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Thread: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

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    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?






    26mm/1.1 Macro Switar, collimated for the G1 and with 6 month factory warranty

    Bolex International, the makers of the Bolex movie cameras are located in Yverdon (Switzerland). Most people have heard of Bolex cameras and Switar lenses but few people know the firm is still active building professional 16mm movie cameras and servicing both the cameras and lenses of their existing customer base.

    Living only half an hours drive away and with a 26mm/1.1 Macro Switar and a 75mm/2.8 Yvar in need of a CLA (clean, lube and adjust), I wanted to see with my own eyes their operation rather than sending in the lenses.

    I phoned them on August 3rd to make sure they were open in this holiday season. They were not, but a manager happened to be in his office and told me to pass by nevertheless provided I could come within the next hour. So off to the motorway. The Bolex building was easy to find, 200 meters from the Yverdon South motorway exit and well indicated with panels. The technician would be back in 2 weeks and I could get the lenses 2 weeks after that.

    On August 18 I phoned and had the technician, Mr. Distallevi on the line.




    Mr Distallevi near the Bolex reception desk – G1 - Macro Switar 26mm/1.1 - ISO=100 - 1/50 @ f/1.1

    He had worked on the lenses the day before and I could fetch them immediately. The meeting with him was very interesting and instructive. He had been working for Bolex for 40 years, starting at age 16.




    Kern factory in Aarau

    The Kern company in Aarau stopped making lenses in 1991 after being taken over by Leica. The Bolex company bought their stock and spare parts and he took a training at the Kern factory in Aarau. It is now Bolex who has the resources to service and repair Kern lenses, both for movie and Alpa Reflex still cameras.

    On my 26mm, the diaphragm was blocked and the depth-of-field preview lever did not work, both of which he could easily fix, but he also gave me an original Kern front lens cap and changed the imperial (feet) distance scale to a metric one. I kept the feet scale as a spare. The lens did not focus to infinity on the G1 with my Jinfinance C-mount adapter. He adjusted it on the collimator so it would focus slightly beyond infinity on my G1 as I had asked him.

    It is a splendid lens, probably the most unique of its kind, collimated for the G1 and with 6 months factory warranty, but I am doubtful if it is the best lens for me and whether to keep or sell it.

    It is superfast, with excellent color rendition, sharpness, very agreeable to handle, and focuses down to 50 cm.

    The DOF-preview lever is a great help in achieving precise focus at full aperture and then closing down the diaphragm to a pre-selected value very fast; it is lighter and much smaller than my Kinoptik 25/2; The DOF indicator is a beauty of precision engineering.

    On the minus side, it vignettes very slightly in the corners. But most of all, I do not need such a fast lens. F/2.0 seems enough for me and with the Kinoptik at f/2 I achieve all I need . Am I missing something?

    What is your opinion?
    Last edited by petermcwerner; 19th August 2009 at 06:32.
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    Nice story. Absolutely a keeper. Otherwise for a nice price you can give it to me

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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?


    The DOF-preview lever is a great help in achieving precise focus at full aperture and then closing down the diaphragm to a pre-selected value very fast; it is lighter and much smaller than my Kinoptik 25/2; The DOF indicator is a beauty of precision engineering.

    On the minus side, it vignettes very slightly in the corners. But most of all, I do not need such a fast lens. F/2.0 seems enough for me and with the Kinoptik at f/2 I achieve all I need . Am I missing something?

    What is your opinion?
    There is no such thing as ''too fast or too bright lens''
    When it comes to DOF on m4/3 body f1 is actually f2 as we all know, so thats not a problem.
    When it comes to too much light, I have to agree f1 sometimes is too much but I use ND filter in those conditions.

    I love my Kinoptik 25mm, but if I had to choose between Switar 26/1.1 and Kinoptik 25/2, I would pick Switar. (thankfully, I dont need to choose, just yet, I have been unemployed for only one year now)

    Here are some samples with Switar 26/1.1

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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    Peter, If you decide that you do not need it, drop me a line. Thanks.

  5. #5
    wblynch
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    With a story like that you should keep the lens. If you don't love it today you may in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by petermcwerner View Post
    ...<snipped>...

    26mm/1.1 Macro Switar, collimated for the G1 and with 6 month factory warranty

    On August 18 I phoned and had the technician, Mr. Distallevi on the line.


    He had worked on the lenses the day before and I could fetch them immediately. The meeting with him was very interesting and instructive. He had been working for Bolex for 40 years, starting at age 16.

    The Kern company in Aarau stopped making lenses in 1991 after being taken over by Leica. The Bolex company bought their stock and spare parts and he took a training at the Kern factory in Aarau. It is now Bolex who has the resources to service and repair Kern lenses, both for movie and Alpa Reflex still cameras.

    Am I missing something?

    What is your opinion?

  6. #6
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    I think its a keeper given the work that's been done to make it work perfectly with the G1. I love fast lenses so for me it would be Macro Switar over the Kern if I had the choice and if performance at 1.1 is acceptable. I have not tried either so I can't really say.

    If you decide to let go of the Switar, sell it through the Gear FS or WTB forum so I can have fair shot at it.

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    Senior Member Y.B.Hudson III's Avatar
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    what an exellent experience, Peter. I had mine serviced and collimated in t' US of A.

    Yehh... 26mm preset macro... has t' be the c00lest lens on t' pLanet... more fun than anyone should have... muust be seen large...sorry.

    @ f/2.8
    Last edited by Y.B.Hudson III; 19th August 2009 at 13:31.

  8. #8
    ChrisJ
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photomorgana View Post
    There is no such thing as ''too fast or too bright lens''
    When it comes to DOF on m4/3 body f1 is actually f2 as we all know, so thats not a problem.
    I thought that the aperture of the lens wasn't effected by the crop factor of the sensor. A 26mm f1.1 becomes a 52mm f1.1 with the 2X crop factore of the half frame sensor. The dof of the lens doesn't alter just because the sensor is cropping the middle part of the lenses projected image, does it?

    ChrisJ

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post
    I thought that the aperture of the lens wasn't effected by the crop factor of the sensor. A 26mm f1.1 becomes a 52mm f1.1 with the 2X crop factore of the half frame sensor. The dof of the lens doesn't alter just because the sensor is cropping the middle part of the lenses projected image, does it?

    ChrisJ
    Aperture and light transmission is not affected by sensor size. DOF is affected.

    Case 1: 50mm lens @f/2.0 focused at 10 ft.
    On Canon 5D: DOF = 1.45 ft
    On 4/3 sensor: DOF = 0.72 ft

    Case 2: Equivalent 100mm framing @f/2.0, focused at 10ft.
    Canon 5D (100mm lens): 0.35 ft
    4/3 sensor (50mm lens): 0.72 ft

    Source: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://www.flickr.com/burnettjn

  10. #10
    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: Dream Service for my Switar. But do I need a superfast lens?

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I decided to let the Switar go, the f/2 of the Kinoptik is more than enough for me. A new owner will probably make better avail of the potential of this extraordinary lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by kirio View Post
    If you decide to let go of the Switar, sell it through the Gear FS or WTB forum so I can have fair shot at it.
    I have put it up in the Gear FS forum and hope it will soon find a new happy home.

    Cheers
    Peter
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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